Saks used the recession as an opportunity to challenge everything about its operations, resulting in cost cuts and merchandising changes that strengthened the luxury retailer and prepared it for the economic recovery, CEO Steve Sadove said. Luxury shoppers are spending a bit more optimistically than they were a year ago, but they're still cautious, he said. "The high-end consumer is very much tied to how they feel about their net worth, and that means how is the stock market doing. So there is a very high correlation between the markets and our consumer."

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